The WordPress Admin panel, or the “brains” of your WordPress install, is a key place, and probably the place you’ll spend the majority of your time on, rather than the site itself. It’s written very smart, and things make sense where they are. It’s generally located at www.mysite.com/blog/wp-admin (assuming you installed your blog into /blog, as we did in our first post, on how to install.
The WordPress Admin panel, or Dashboard, is broken down in a handful of subset groups, which make administering your WordPress much easier.
When you first login to your Dashboard, you’ll see the default Admin theme:
From left to right, your options read: Dashboard, Writer, Manager, Comments, Blogroll, Presentation, Plugins, Users, Options
Each of these groups is clickable, and brings you to the subset of options for that group, if they’re available.
Dashboard – This is the homepage of your Admin panel. It allows you to see recent WordPress news (from WordPress), recent comments, recent posts, Askimet Spam protection (assuming you’ve installed it, and you should!), and sites who’ve linked to yours.
Write – This will give you subset options for Write Post, or Write Page. Write post will post to your blog portion of WordPress, while Write Page will post to the “pages” section of your WordPress. Pages and Posts are different in many ways, but we’ll get more into that later on.
Manage – The manage section allows you to modify existing posts (whether in draft, published, or pending review form), modify existing pages (draft, published or pending), manage uploaded images, manage your categories, manage your files, import blog posts from another blogging service (LiveJournal, Greymatter, etc), or export your WordPress database.
Comments – This subset will give you three options; comments, awaiting moderation, and Akismet Spam (assuming you’ve installed Akismet, which again, you should!). Comments are all approved, and posted comments on all of your posts. Awaiting moderation are comments that are waiting to be approved (depending on how you set up WordPress, you can set certain things to be flagged for manual review), and Akismet Spam is stuff that is automatically detected as spam. You generally just go in here, verify everything is spam, and click “Delete All”.
Blogroll – A Blogroll is simply a list of links to other blogs. You can moderate links here, view who you’ve linked to, and import links from another location.
Presentation – This is where you select your active theme, and modify any theme you’ve got, without doing so through FTP. This is helpful, if you make a lot of small changes. Note: in order to use the Theme Editor, your files need to be writeable by the server. If you have any questions on how to do that, drop a note in the comments, and I’ll explain.
Plugins – I’ll be doing an extensive post on plugins, and themes coming up shortly. However, the Plugins menu is where you can see which plugins you have activated, and activate new ones. Plugins are basically extensions that make WordPress more useful, or customized.
Users – If you allow registrations on your WordPress, or have other authors, this is where you can go to manage them, give them permissions to do things (or not do things). You can also change passwords, e-mail addresses, and website URLs through this page. It’s also used for manually creating users of your WordPress, as well.
Options – Probably the most important part of your WordPress. The Options subset gives you a zillion options, literally. I’ll explain them, left to right, as they appear on screen: General Options; this allows you to change your blog’s name, your e-mail address, time stamp, new user default role, and membership options. Writing; allows you to modify a variety of options related to writing posts on your site, including the size of the posting box, default category, and others. Reading; configuration for how many posts to show on the site/RSS feed, and what to show on your front page. Discussion; allows you to configure who can leave comments, how often, if someone has to be registered to leave a comment or not, and when to flag a comment as potential spam (to moderate it). Privacy; do you want the WordPress to be indexed by search engines? Permalinks; this can be complicated if you don’t know what they are. A Permalink is basically a link to a specific page. You can opt for different options, based on what WordPress can do. Note in order to change from the default, you’ll need an .htaccess file, and it has to be writeable by the server. Miscellaneous; this simply lets you change where your files/images get uploaded to.
And that’s it, the WordPress Admin panel in a nutshell. Any specific questions? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to help out. Check back soon for my post on Plugins and Themes, how to use them, and what they’ll do for you!